Lame Duck, Session, Politics, Obama, Congress
While they were busy wasting time on Obamacare, energy taxes, and amnesty, the 111th Congress let many of their primary obligations slide. That is why the next two months is about to witness the busiest lame duck session in the history of Congress. Here are seven most do items this lame duck must address before the 112th Congress is sworn in:
1. Appropriations – Congress has yet to complete work on one of the 12 appropriations bills necessary to keep the discretionary budget of the government funded into next year. Congress is currently operating under a Continuing Resolution (CR) (PL 111-242)until December 3rd. A Continuing Resolution is a bill that funds the federal government under last years levels until it expires. Congress is going to have to decide between an Omnibus Spending bill, one that combines all of the 12 appropriations bills into one, or a Continuing Resolution that will fund the government into next year.
2. Obama Tax Hikes – The big question for taxpayers is what is Congress going to do about the massive tax hikes scheduled for January 1st. Bloomberg reports that a summit between Republicans and Democrats scheduled for the White House today will not happen until November 30th.
3. Doc Fix – The rate that the federal government pays physicians who treat Medicare patients is scheduled to be cut 23% on December 1st. This cut is commonly referred to as “Doc Fix.” The Doc Fix issue may become another controversial expiring provision of law, because Congress is going to have difficulty finding money to offset the higher spending.
4. Unemployment Insurance – Another expensive proposition for Congress is extending unemployment insurance that expires on December 1st. The idea on the table is to extend unemployment benefits for another 13 weeks.
5. President’s Debt Commission – The President’s Deficit Commission is expected to submit a report to Congress pursuant to an executive order on December 1st.
5. FAA - Other issues expiring are authorization for the Federal Aviation Administration that includes an increase in the Passenger Facility Charge (PFC).
6. TANF - A Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) emergency fund, a program funded through the stimulus plan, expired in September and many liberals in Congress want to keep the emergency fund authorized into 2011.
All of these issues will be front and center during the Lame Duck Congress and the American people will be sent a billion dollar bill if new programs are funded without cutting spending in other areas of government to pay for these Congressional priorities.
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